A forestry administration chief at the Pursat provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on Monday said a couple and their six-year-old daughter had been detained for several hours over the illegal trafficking of wildlife before being released.
After searching a truck driven by a 47-year-old man, authorities found an 88kg haul of three species of snakes hidden in five boxes.
Chea Bundy, the head of the Sampov Meas Forestry Administration in Pursat city, said the man and his 43-year-old wife hailed from Prey Svay commune’s Moung Russey district in Battambang province.
The couple were taken in for questioning. They were released after signing a contract agreeing to never again illegally traffic wildlife.
Bundy said the couple told officials that they did not know what was contained in the boxes when they picked them up in Battambang province. Had they known they contained wildlife, they would not have agreed to take them to Phnom Penh, they said.
“The snakes were confiscated by authorities to be released back into their natural habitat. The couple and their daughter were allowed to go after they were strictly forbidden from ever again taking part in wildlife trafficking."
“They were allowed free because the snakes found are not a rare species, and the couple provided important information about who they got the snakes from. Authorities will investigate and take action according to the law,” Bundy said.
Bundy said he received reports from forestry administration officials in Battambang province on Sunday morning that a truck would be smuggling wildlife from the province’s Moung Russey district to Phnom Penh.
A Sampov Meas forestry administration team set up a control post on National Road 5, in Pursat city’s Roleab commune, and intercepted the truck.
The snakes were released into a community forest in Pursat province’s Phnom Kravanh district.